Maddox Crowder blew through the front nine holes of his round on Monday at Country Hills Golf Course.
The Macon County High freshman birdied the ninth hole to turn on to the back nine at three under par during the Region 4 Large Golf Tournament.
However, Crowder ran into difficulty on the back nine, but it wasn’t enough to ruin his strong start.
Crowder shot a two-over-par round of 72 to qualify for next week’s Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association (TSSAA) Large Division State Tournament.
“I never really hit it good on the front,” Crowder said. “I just kind of scored.
“On the back, I was playing okay. On (hole No.) 12, I got behind a tree and tried to save par. On 14, 15 and 16, I had a couple of bad swings. I just never found it from there.”
The region team champion and the top three individuals not comprising that winning team in both the boys and girls fields advanced to the state tournament, which will be held next Thursday and Friday at Sevierville Golf Club.
“It’s for sure one of the accomplishments I always want to do,” Crowder said. “I wanted to make the state tournament all my years of high school, and you want to give yourself a chance to win.
“I was hoping to bring the team with me.”
The Macon County boys and girls teams were competing, having placed third at last week’s District 8 Large Tournament to advance to Monday’s play.
The Tiger boys placed third again on Monday, six strokes back of Cookeville and just one behind second-place Greenbrier. The Cavaliers won with a 317 total.
Crowder’s classmate, Coltin Jenkins, shot 79.
Carter Stroup and Tyler Williamson led the Bobcats, who were the defending region champions, with rounds of 74 and 75, respectively.
Cookeville’s Luke Caldwell was the medalist on Monday, shooting 68.
Caldwell’s 68 and Cumberland County golfer Jaxon Reed’s round of 69 were the only two sub-par scores among the male competitors.
“It’s a really hard course to stay zoned in on,” Crowder said of Country Hills, which was also the site of the District 8 Tournament four days earlier. “It’s tiring to walk. The shots you have to hit, you can mess up hitting a good shot because of the hills. It’s just hard to hit every shot the way you want on this course.”
Crowder — who had back-to-back birdies on holes No. 4 and 5 on Monday — shot 71 at the district tournament.
Reed, Crowder and Beech’s Tristan Grenead (73) earned the individual berths to the state tournament.
“I’m pumped,” Crowder said. “It’s going to be a good experience for sure.
“Our high school has already won one (state championship). Maybe I can win one as an individual as a freshman … be big.”
The Gallatin girls won the region and are advancing to the state as a team for the first time in the program’s history. The Lady Wave finished five strokes better than second-place Cookeville.
Reagan Padilla and Kennedy Daughtry shot 79 and 82, respectively, for Gallatin.
Daniella Pryor’s 79 led Cookeville.
Station Camp senior Lynn Lim — a Vanderbilt University commitment — was the medalist, posting a score of 69.
Lim, Pryor and Warren County’s Lauren Slatton (73) earned individuals berths to the state.
Lim helped the Lady Bison program win the past three TSSAA Large Class team state championships, and she finished as the state runner-up individually as a freshman, won the individual state title as a sophomore and placed third last fall as a junior.